Inflammasomes are responsible for the maturation of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-18, and IL-33 and activation of inflammatory cell death, pyroptosis. They assemble in response to cellular infection and stress or to tissue damage, promote inflammatory reactions, and are important in regulating innate immunity particularly by acting as platforms for activation of caspase proteases. They appear to be involved in several pathological processes activated by microbes including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Best characterized in microbial pathogenesis is the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat (NLR)-protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. AD is a neurodegenerative condition in which the neuropathological hallmarks are the deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ)and hyperphosphorylated tau protein coated neurofibrillary tangles. For decades, the role of the innate immune system in the etiology of AD was considered less important, but the recently discovered inflammatory genes by genome-wide association studies driving inflammation in this disease has changed this view. Innate immune inflammatory activity in the AD brain can result from the pathological hallmark protein Aβ as well as from specific bacterial infections that tend to possess weak immunostimulatory responses for peripheral blood myeloid cell recruitment to the brain. The weak immunostimulatory activity is a consequence of their immune evasion strategies and survival. In this review we discuss the possibility that inflammasomes, particularly via the NLR family of proteins NLRP3 are involved in the pathogenesis of AD. In addition, we discuss the plausible contribution of specific bacteria playing a role in influencing the activity of the NLRP3 inflammasome to AD progression.
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